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NORFOLK, Va. – The Lady Monarch’s soccer team will take the pitch for the first time during the 2013 regular season on August 23 at 5 p.m. against La Salle as part of the JMU Tournament in Harrisonburg, Va.

Head coach Joe Pereira talked about the upcoming JMU Tournament, “We want to be very competitive this weekend and really want to fight for results. But more than anything else, we want to get better, we want to continue to improve every game.”

La Salle has made the NCAA tournament the past two seasons and were the champions of the Atlantic 10 last year. The Explorers have been picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 this season.

The Explorers return six starters including 2012 Defender of the Year Courtney Niemiec, CoSIDA Academic All-American Renee Washington and 2011 All-American Kelsey Haycook; all of whom were selected to the Atlantic 10’s Preseason All-Conference Team.

The 2013 Lady Monarchs
This season’s Lady Monarch team has a fairly even mix of upper and underclassmen. Pereira explained, “The chemistry of our team is a bit unusual; half are returning players and the other half are incoming freshmen. Saying we are young would be an understatement.”

Key Returnees (11): Sara Brock (Sr./F-D/Lorton, Va.); Nikki Clarke (Sr./D/Annadale, Va.); Amber Cook (Sr./D/Clear Brook, Va.); Meghan Cozens (RSr./MF/Chesapeake, Va.); Devin Dougherty (So./MF/Mickleton, N.J.); Samantha Hinson (Sr./F-MF/Chesapeake, Va.); Kayla Hufford (Sr./D/Orange Park, Fla.); Jordan Jones (So./F-D/Sicklerville, N.J.); Jessie Klamut (Jr./MF/Virginia Beach, Va.); Taylor Smith (Jr./F-MF/Virginia Beach, Va.); Alexis Thomas (Jr./F-MF/Moon Township, Pa.)

Key Newcomers (11): Jasmine Diaz (Fr./MF/Dix Hills, N.Y.); Carly Goldsborough (Fr./F-MF/Virginia Beach, Va.); Grace Haverly (Fr./MF/Virginia Beach, Va.); Madison Hogan (Fr./F/Williamstown, N.J.); Rachel Johnson (Fr./MF-D/Mt. Laurel, N.J.); Erin Kinz (Fr./GK/Niagara Falls, N.Y.); Meredith Lenox (Fr./GK/Raleigh, N.C.); Melanie Oakes (Fr./MF/Virginia Beach, Va.); Thyla Peterson (Fr./D/Manassas, Va.); Jackie Stroud (Fr./D/Raleigh, N.C.); Morgan Vezina (Fr./F-MF/Cary, N.C.)

Key Losses (6 seniors): Brianna Alvarado (GK); Laura Bush (GK); Ashlee Coutu (F); Kelly Evans (F); Aubrie Ewell (F); Taylor Mertz (F)

New Conference
This is the first season that the Lady Monarchs will compete in the C-USA. “We are excited about being in Conference USA,” said Pereira. Pereira continued, “We think we are going to fare very well in it. We are looking forward to competing in a big way.”

ODU will be joined in the C-USA East Division by Charlotte, East Carolina, FIU, Middle Tennessee, Marshall, UAB and Florida Atlantic. Colorado College, North Texas, Rice, Tulsa, UTEP, Louisiana Tech, UTSA and Southern Miss round out the C-USA West Division. The Lady Monarchs will play each of the other seven teams in the East Division, as well as UTSA, Rice and Southern Miss from the West Division.

Following the regular season, the top five teams in each division will earn a spot in the 2013 Conference USA Championship, hosted by Rice University on November 4-10.

"Joining Conference USA is a good thing. Even though we'll have a young team, we like the position that we are in. We think we have a great chance to compete immediately in the conference," Pereira said.

Old Dominion’s second and final game of the JMU Tournament will take place on Sunday, Aug. 25 against the University of Richmond at 11 a.m.

Be sure to keep up with all the latest news regarding ODU Women’s Soccer on Facebook; as well as follow @ODUWomensSoccer on Twitter! 

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